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Environment & Science

Dirty for the drought: LA Waterkeeper wants you to take the no-car wash pledge



When it comes to water usage, not all car washes are created equal. Most car washes don’t recycle water, but more and more newly built car washes are starting to. Santa Ana Express Car Wash opened three years ago and its million-dollar equipment recycles 70 percent of its water.
When it comes to water usage, not all car washes are created equal. Most car washes don’t recycle water, but more and more newly built car washes are starting to. Santa Ana Express Car Wash opened three years ago and its million-dollar equipment recycles 70 percent of its water.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
When it comes to water usage, not all car washes are created equal. Most car washes don’t recycle water, but more and more newly built car washes are starting to. Santa Ana Express Car Wash opened three years ago and its million-dollar equipment recycles 70 percent of its water.
The Saab Slob? KPCC's Matt DeBord hasn't washed his car in more than a year.
John Rabe


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Washing your car with a garden hose can use up to 120 gallons of water. Most corner conveyor belt operations use less, but all that water can add up, as we told you in August.

That’s why the group LA Waterkeeper is challenging motorists to drive dirty and pledge to skip car washes for 60 days. 

"Water conservation is the easiest and most affordable way to quickly reduce water demand and also extend supplies into next year," says Liz Crosson, the group's executive director. 

This summer Ventura County’s water agency asked people to skip washing their rides for a month; some people got detailing and car washes as a reward. Crosson’s group is hoping bragging rights will be enough of an incentive. (Though there are some as-yet-undisclosed prizes.)

People who live in LA are really excited and interested by the cars that they drive," Crosson says. "And frankly, you can have a dirty car and you can have a sticker and have an excuse for having a dirty car so it saves your image too."

The campaign’s just kicking off this weekend (at the Abbott-Kinney festival), but Crosson’s already optimistic for success. Early adopters of the pledge are hundreds of people from the online site Reddit and the general manager for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

 

From the ED, I’m Molly Peterson, 89-point-3. KPCC.